Tag Archives: grief

10th Birthday!

When my first blog post went live 10 years ago today, I was not sure JoyReturns would be around to celebrate 1 year let alone ten. In fact, I was skeptical it would last six months.

Well, here we are 10 years later. Pretty good for someone who always thought her writing stunk because of it’s casual tone. God gifted me with the ability to write informally because He knew I would become a blogger. Writing about grief does not need to be done in a formal, stuffy manner like CEO’s, lawyers and other business professionals.

JoyReturns started as a way to provide encouragement to widows that their joy would return and to support them as they journeyed through grief. The best way for me to do help them was to share my adventures as I worked through grief, unemployment and whatever else came my way. Hopefully, not only would my readers be encouraged by my journey but they would get a laugh or two.

Also, I hoped sharing my adventures would show society widows do move forward with life and that we are not scary creatures with cooties.

God used my words to reach people in 165 countries and I was privileged to hear from widows about how they found the inspiration to move forward with building a new life. Other people reached out about how I gave them a better understanding of widowhood and how to help their friends and/or family members that were suddenly widowed.

So thank you God for how you have used JoyReturns so I could accomplish my vision

 “…That henceforth I may be the salt of the earth and a blessing to all.”

Regeneration – prayer from The Valley Of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions – edited by Arthur Bennett

In 10 years the world has drastically changed. I do not understand the world and will not try to figure it out but simply turn it over to God. He is still on His throne and still in charge – Hallelujah!

Last year, I was planning on a big blowout of a party. However, with all the insanity of 2020 carrying over into 2021, it will just be a quiet night with a Dairy Queen Blizzard.

What does the future hold for JoyReturns, that remains to be seen. God whispered in my year “widow’s website” early one morning, so I am praying for God’s guidance. Nothing I thought of last year, newsletter, podcast, printables etc seemed right.

I will republish older posts in addition to Weekend Wisdom and new content.

Whatever comes our way this year, God willing I will still be pursuing my vision of being both the salt of the earth and a blessing to all.

Thank you my dear friends for coming on this journey with me. Your friendship these past 10 years means more than you know.

Have a joy-filled day and remember:

For his anger lasts only a moment,

    but his favor lasts a lifetime;

Rainbow Over Woods Behind House – June 2008 (photo by Michele Kearns)

weeping may stay for the night,

    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5 (New International Version)

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com.

Living A Joyful Life – Exercise

Author’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles on what I believe are keys to living a joyful life. A new post will be published every Wednesday.

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1st Corinthians 6:19 -20
ESV
English Standard Version

I know you are reading this stunned that the first article in the series is about exercise. After much thought, I decided this was the foundation for living a joyful life. Hopefully exercising will lead you to the next step, especially if you are grieving or going through another nasty life event.

Now I am the last person who needs to be writing about exercise since the most I do is up and down the basement steps when doing laundry.

But maybe if I write about exercise I will do it more. Maybe this spring I need to bring back Tour de Parks where I walk a different park every week and then blog about it.

Plum Creek Park

Exercise and Mental Health

It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.

Marcus Tullius Cicero
Quote courtesy of QuoteGarden.com

You need exercise to keep the endorphins and other chemicals giving you a natural high. They help boost your mood so you feel like working through tough situations such as grief or career transition.

It is the number one thing I would tell a person to do to get through grief and I mean start the day after the funeral.

Even if it is walking around the block, just do it and keep doing it. You will slowly but surely feel like doing more things to move forward with your new life.

Speaking of walking…

How I Make Walking Less Of A Chore

My favorite thing to do when I go for walks in area parks is to take my camera. Practicing my photography takes my mind off how many laps I’ve yet to do around the pond…

or how far I still need to walk.

Getting Started

The desire of activity is designed by nature to promote our physical well-being. Physical activity is the law of physical health. 

Edward Brooks, 1882
Quote courtesy of QuoteGarden.com

Get some cool tennis shoes and some cool Hollywood starlet shades and you are off and walking.

Chores

Not into walking? Then do chores as they count as exercise – both indoor and outdoor. They are another form of activity that adds up.

So run up and down the basement steps while waiting for the dryer to stop, pick up your speed when vacuuming or dance while you are dusting. Hmmm…we may have a new sport – ballroom dusting.

For your outdoor exercise may I recommend raking a gully as part of your plan to meet the 150 minutes per week requirement.

The gully in my backyard is known as The River Kearns and every couple years, it makes an appearance when we get a lot of rain. I then rake the drain area to make sure leaves, twigs and grass clipping are not clogging the drain. Fun, fun, fun.

A Wise Old Saying

You’ve heard it said that in order to never work a day in your life, find a job you enjoy doing.

The same is true for exercise, find some type you enjoy doing and you will never exercise a day in your life.

Now if you will excuse me, I need to go strip the sheets off the bed with the force of an F5 tornado, run down the steps and dunk them in the washing machine. Then it will be time to get out of the house as it is my day off and I must spend most of it away from home. Looks like I will be walking the mall due to the cold, gloomy weather.

Remember – Exercise and you will experience joyful life thanks to the endorphins and other hormones. Plus you will give people something to talk about when you tell them you did ballroom dusting before coming to work.

Reflect first upon that great law of our nature, that exercise is the chief source of improvement in all our faculties.

Hugh Blair (1718–1800)
Quote courtesy of QuoteGarden.com

Related Reading: How to Start Exercising and Stick to It.

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

JoyReturns on WCTV in Wadsworth

My friend Katherine Miracle has a show on WCTV which serves Wadsworth, Ohio. It is called Your Miracle Resource. She is the founder and CEO of Miracle Resources, a marketing firm in Akron, Ohio.

In a recent episode of Your Miracle Resource she was seeking information about what not to say to grieving people during the holiday.

I reached out to her with some advice. She wanted me to appear on her show. Since my job is Virtual Logistics, I was already scheduled for overtime the day of filming.

Instead, I wrote this post to go into more detail about the holiday grief tips I shared with Katherine. Here is the link to her show.

Your Miracle Resource – Dealing With Grief

My Holiday Tips

Take a plate of cookies to a widow along with the recipe.

Easy Heath Bar Cookies – BEFORE I Took A Bite!

I rarely bake anymore. However, if someone was kind enough to bring me a few cookies they baked along with the recipe it might inspire me to get out the cookie sheet. Plus it would warm my heart that during this busy time of year someone thought of me.

It might only be baking but it gets you trying something new and life after the loss of a spouse is filled with doing new things, so you might as well start somewhere.

Currently, this will be the only thing I bake to take on Christmas Day. It’s quick and easy and was given to me by a dear friend.

Send a grieving person a Christmas card so they know you are thinking about them.

Christmas can be a lonely time for widows and other grieving people. The focus is on kids and their toys. There are lots of lonely, grieving people who feel invisible and getting a simple card in the snail mail will brighten their day.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Bah Humbug!

Keep the Christmas music low when a grieving person is around. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas takes on a whole new meaning after the passing of a loved one.

My first Christmas after Joe’s passing, I was in a locally owned grocery store and heard this song as I went down the chip aisle. Then as I am walking down the baking aisle, it came over the loud speaker again. Finally as I walked up the dish soap aisle and headed for the check out line, yet another dead singer was crooning it over the loudspeaker. Three times in the 30 – 45 minutes from the time I entered the store until I left. After barely making it home, I laid down on the couch and had a meltdown.

Let my heart be light? Nope! Troubles miles away? Nope!

So lower the music and let the grieving person and other guests can focus on and enjoy conversation.

Invite A Grieving Person To Your Holiday Party

But do not expect them to stay the whole time. There comes a point during the festivities where it is just too much merriment for the widow. The length of time they can handle the merriment will vary because each widow is unique. It is alright for the widow to leave early. Just appreciate the time and effort it took for her to step outside her comfort zone and attend.

Speak about their deceased loved one.

My favorite picture of Rommie and Joe

It is alright to speak about the deceased loved one. We want to know they are not forgotten. It comforts us to know that people remember him. Society wants widows and other grieving people to put there loved in the ground, walk away from the grave, and act like the deceased never even existed.

So think and speak fondly of the deceased.

Do Not Quote Any Bible Verse or Get Theological

This is simple. If you look in the mirror and see Billy Graham staring back at you, then go ahead and use Bible verses and theology to comfort someone. However, when you look in the mirror you will not see Billy or even Franklin Graham staring back at you -so zip it.

Do Not Say “If you need anything, let me know.”

Raking the bottom of the River Kearns in my backyard.

By saying this you are placing the burden on the widow or other grieving person to wrack there brain about how you can help them. They have enough on their plate.

You have a house and know what tasks need done everyday and the tasks associated with the different seasons so just call a grieving person up and ask “Who is shoveling your driveway this winter?” or “Who is raking your leaves this fall?”

Go to GriefShare.org

The GriefShare program helped me immensely after Joe’s passing. It is Christ-centered, Biblically based program by Church Initiative. I looked forward to Monday nights. Those nights were more important to me than church on Sunday. Those Monday meetings became my rock, my foundation for the week because I was with other people who were grieving.

While we all lost different loved ones and the causes of their passing were different, we all knew the pain of grief and supported one another. The conversations we had after viewing a different video every week for 13 weeks left us uplifted and encouraged that grief was survivable and our joy would return.

Final Thoughts

This is not the entire list of advice for helping grieving people but it is a good starting point. Below are links to additional blog pages where you will find links to books, websites, articles, music and recipes.

May all this information help you this Christmas season whether someone you know is grieving or you yourself are grieving.

Merry Christmas and God Bless you.

Additional Resources:

Holiday Helps

Joy-Filled Recipes

Contact: michele.kearns@joyreturns.com

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, co-facilitating a grief support group, and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog OgleOhio.com

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